A U.S. Navy’s submarine force — known as the “silent service” — patrols a world of mystery and intrigue. Here’s a glimpse of what life is like for “bubbleheads,” those who deploy aboard these powerful, lethal, and high-tech vessels.
…I was goin’ over the Cork and Kerry Mountains…
Musha rain dum a doo, dum a da…
There’s whiskey in the jar, oh
— Thin Lizzy, Whiskey in the Jar
Whiskey is a mountain spirit. After a cold day on the slopes, are you thirsting for a Cosmo? A margarita? Nope. And we’re not even offering rum as an option. In the mountains, you long for an end-of-day bourbon, scotch, or rye to light your insides on fire. It’s tradition and it’s awesome.
…complete me. ( Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)
In Vail, Colo, there’s another mountain spirit that has to be reckoned with and unlike whiskey, it’s 100 percent military. It’s the legacy of the Army’s venerable 10th Mountain Division, the special alpine tactical force that trained at nearby Camp Hale during WWII.
Spirits, however, are made to blend. It’s tradition and it’s awesome.
Now, almost 75 years after 10th Mountain defeated the Germans in Italy, a Vail whiskey distillery is honoring the Division by taking its name. In the tradition of service, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co. is distinguishing itself as an ardent supporter of area veterans.
Sensing the makings of a 90-proof military food story, Meals Ready To Eat host August Dannehl made the trek out to the Colorado mountains to meet the founders of the 10th Mountain Whiskey over two fingers of their best bourbon.
The distillery was founded by Christian Avignon, the grandson of an 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment medic, and his friend and fellow Colorado ski obsessive, Ryan Thompson. Together, they made it their mission to honor the 10th, whose veterans are responsible not only for key victories against the Nazis, but also for the establishment and leadership of so many of America’s great mountain institutions.
The Northern Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the Sierra Club, the Peace Corps chapter in Nepal, even the famous ski resorts at Vail and Aspen, all count 10th Mountain Division vets among their founding leadership. A storied fighting force inspires a whiskey maker determined to give back. It’s a potent cocktail of tradition, patriotism, and mountaineering that will absolutely warm your insides on a cold day.
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The Mitsubishi A6M Zero is one of the great warplanes of all time. It certainly got a lot of press as the primary fighter the Americans faced in the great carrier battles in the Pacific Theater.
That being said, it wasn’t Japan’s only fighter. In fact, the Japanese Army had its own front-line fighter.
The Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar first took to the skies in 1941, about six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was intended to replace the Nakajima Ki-27 Nate, an earlier monoplane fighter.
In some respects, the Japanese Army was much smarter with the Oscar than the Japanese Navy was with the Zero. MilitaryFactory.com notes that the Ki-43 was continually improved during the war. The Ki-43-Ia started out with two 7.7mm machine guns, but by the time the Ki-43-Ic emerged, that had changed to two 12.7mm machine guns.
Later versions, like the Ki-43-II and Ki-43-III, were constantly improved with things like self-sealing fuel tanks and armor to protect the pilot. The Zero never saw those improvements until it was far too late to affect the outcome of battles like the Marianas Turkey Shoot.
Ultimately, over 5,900 Ki-43s were produced. After World War II, they saw action with the Chinese, French forces in Indochina, North Korean forces, and even with Indonesian rebels. The plane turned out to be a solid ground-attack plane, capable of carrying two 250 kilogram bombs.
Below is a Japanese newsreel showing Ki-43 Oscars in action.
On Aug. 1, 1944 — less than two months after the D-Day invasion — Marine Maj. Peter J. Ortiz, along five other Marines and an Army Air Corps officer, parachuted into France to assist a few hundred French resistance fighters known as the Maquis in their fight against the Nazis. Ortiz had already worked and trained with the Maquis in occupied France in the months leading up to the invasion of Europe.
Quickly the fighters linked up with their resistance allies and began conducting ambushes. The exact casualty counts are unknown, but the Maquis and their Marine handlers inflicted so much damage so quickly that German intelligence believed an allied battalion had jumped in to assist the resistance instead of only six Marines and a soldier.
The M1 Abrams main battle tank gets a lot of attention and respect. As well it should; it has a very enviable combat record — not to mention a reputation that is simply fearsome.
After all, if you were facing them and knew that enemy shells fired from 400 yards away bounced off the armor of an M1, you’d want to find some sort of white fabric to wave to keep it from shooting at you.
But the Abrams doesn’t operate alone. Often, it works with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, or BFV. The “B” could also stand for “badass” because the Bradley has done its share of kicking butt alongside the Abrams, including during Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Julie Golob ARMY veteran, championship shooter and mother discusses some of the new guns offered by Smith and Wesson at SHOT Show 2015.
Veteran and fitness expert Max Philisaire shows us how to max out with Navy Seal sit-ups!
Japanese kamikaze pilots commonly struck fear in the hearts of allied troops as they conducted choreographed nose-dives right into U.S. ships during World War II’s Pacific fight.
Although the act proved costly for both sides, the Japanese were determined to take out as many Americans as they could in their quest for victory.
Kamikaze pilots pose together in front of a zero fighter plane before taking off from the Imperial Army airstrip on Nov. 8, 1944.
Reportedly, the first kamikaze operation of WWII occurred during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.
After a mission had been planned out, the pilots of the Japanese “Special Attack Corps” received a slip of paper with three options: to volunteer out of a strong desire, to simply volunteer or to decline.
Although the majority of the fighter pilots completed their final mission, a few were noted to divert and change their course at the last second while others suffered engine malfunctions causing them to abort.
On Dec. 28, 1944, while transporting supplies to Mindoro, Philippines, a trained kamikaze pilot dodged incoming alled fire and flew directly into the USS John Burke, destroying the instantly.
The plane struck the the vessel’s ammunition storage area causing a monstrous secondary blast that killed all the troops aboard.
By the end of January 1945, at least 47 allied vessels were sunk by Japanese kamikaze pilots — and other 300 were damaged.
Check out the video below to see how an unsure cameraman from a nearby ship accidentally caught one of the deadliest kamikaze missions and recorded it on film.
andrew hayes, YouTube
The upcoming OA-X fly-off features the Textron Scorpion as one of the major contenders. This plane has been the subject of some hype since it first flew in 2013. However, if it wins the OA-X flyoff, it won’t be the first Scorpion to have flown for the United States.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States was looking to acquire interceptors to stop a horde of Soviet bombers. The big problem — the guns were just not packing enough punch. One answer to this was the F-89 Scorpion from Northrop.
The first definitive version of the Scorpion to achieve widespread service, the F-89D, addressed that problem by using air-to-air “Mighty Mouse” rockets. The Scorpions carried 104 of them, and had the option of firing all of them at once, or in up to three salvos. The F-89 Scorpion also had a lethal ground-attack capability, being able to carry 16 five-inch rockets and up to 3,200 pounds of bombs.
But the “Mighty Mouse” rockets proved to be more mouse than mighty, and the Scorpion’s armament was soon the subject of an upgrade. The F-89J was a F-89D modified to carry the AIR-2 Genie rocket — which carried a small nuclear warhead. The plane could also carry four AIM-4 Falcon missiles. The Genie had a warhead equivalent to 250 tons of TNT, and it had a range of six miles and a top speed of Mach 3. Early versions of the AIM-4 had a range of six miles, but later versions could go 7 miles. Most Falcons were heat-seekers, but some were radar-guided missiles.
The F-89 was eventually retired in favor of faster interceptors with more modern radars and missiles, but for most of two decades, it helped guard America’s airspace from Soviet aggression. Below is a video put out by the Air Force’s Air Defense Command about this plane.
Navy SEAL candidates go through some of the hardest military training in the world before earning their beloved Trident.
Before graduating BUD/s, they must successfully pass “drown-proofing” which is a series of swim challenges that must be completed without the use of their hands or feet — which are tied together.
This swim challenge is comprised of five difficult tests that not only pushes the mind but the body to its limits.
Can this Buzzfeed host use both his mental and physical strength to overcome and complete this challenge? Let’s find out.
Note: This challenge was done in an eight-foot deep pool versus the nine-foot one the Navy uses during the training.
Phase 1: Bobbing up and down 20 times for five minutes.Success! (Images via Giphy)Result: Pass
Phase 2: Float on your back for five minutesThe key here is not to panic. (Images via Giphy)Result: Fail
Phase 3: The Dolphin swimWhere endurance kicks in. (Images via Giphy)Result: Pass
Phase 4: Front and back somersaultOne of the test’s hardest challenges. (Images via Giphy)Result: Pass
Phase 5: Retrieve a GoPro at the bottom of the poolHe made that look easy. (Images via Giphy)Result: Pass
4 out of 5 isn’t bad.
Check out the Buzz Feed Blue’s below to watch this host attempt the whole Navy SEAL water challenge for yourself.(YouTube, BuzzFeedBlue)Do you think this guy passed the Navy SEAL swim test? Comment below.
What will the future hold? Cyber operations, state-of-the-art drone systems, and crazy advancements in infantry equipment.
In this latest episode of Vets Get Real, WATM talks to a group of former servicemembers about whether or not they’d join the military all over again if given the chance.
Be sure to keep an eye out for other episodes of Vets Get Real where WATM hosts discussions with vets on topics ranging from relationships to recruiters.
Editor’s note: If you have questions that you’d like to see Vets Get Real about, please leave a comment below.
His team spotted by insurgents and forced to take cover in an abandoned compound, Marine sniper Joshua Moore went against his instinct when two grenades landed next to him, throwing one of them back at the enemy and holding off insurgent fire until help could arrive.
Moore, at the time a lance corporal, was later awarded the Navy Cross for his actions.
Moore was part of a scout sniper platoon during a mission in Marjah, Afghanistan, in March 2011, when insurgents targeted his team.